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The Flash Guru: Delivery Costs, Dreamweaver, and More

Got a Flash video question? Let Stefan Richter, the Flash guru, help you out. In this monthly series, Richter will answer Flash questions sent in by StreamingMedia.com readers or from the Streaming Media forums.

Stefan Richter
Richter is the founding director of Muchosmedia, a UK-based software firm specializing in rich Internet applications. The company works for an international client base that includes ITV, Unilever, and the Tate Modern, and recently launched its first product, Scribblar, an online collaboration tool which is proving popular in the eLearning community. Richter also maintains his personal blog, the popular FlashComGuru.

Our first question was e-mailed from Agastee:

Dear Stefan,
I am developing a large scale website with professional content. I now have to set up an entire data centre for storing and processing the video. Which is a good CMS and CDN to go with to reduce my per terabyte delivery cost?
Will I need a Flash server, Windows Media Server? Also, my content currently resides on a company based out of the US. How do I localize the same and encode the same Any answers or pointing in the right direction will help.

"It’s a bit of a strange question," says Richter, "because he’s mixing together lots of different aspects." You didn't need to set up your own data center, since you can outsource that, as well as the delivery. Since you asked for recommendations of hosting services, Richter says three come to mind. Encoding.com will do all your encoding for you; just upload your video and they'll convert it to other formats. Vidego offers a transcoding facility as well as delivery, if that's what you need. Finally, Bits on the Run offers a similar service, with transcoding, storage, and delivery.

As for who has the best costs, you'll need to shop around. Call up all prospectives and ask them for their rates. You don't say how much data you'll be transferring, but that's a factor in the cost. Shop around.

"He needs to pick up the phone and talk to a lot of providers and get a feeling for where he'll be the happiest," says Richter.

For the second part, Richter points out that if you go with a CDN, you don't need to worry about setting up a Flash or Windows Media Server. The company you hire will store and deliver your content. Upload Flash and it'll stream Flash; upload WMV and it will stream WMV. It depends what you pay for.

"Better going with a CDN and letting them take care of it because that’s what they do best," says Richter.

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